We Are Training Disciples In Godliness - Plethos
We are continuing to discuss the six attributes that a disciple of Jesus Christ is pursuing. They are…
We are training disciple-makers
We are helping disciples train in godliness
We are helping each family unit be a love and truth center
We are distributing the grace of God by serving one another
We are families on mission
We are teaching the consequences of sin and of not obeying Jesus
We are looking at the second one, “We are helping disciples train in godliness” (1 Timothy 4:7-8).
Christmas is almost upon us and we are beginning to see more and more commercials to grab our attention to buy their products. One of the commercials that I am seeing a lot is of a product called, ‘The Mirror’. It looks like one of those long mirrors that most college students have hanging in their dorm room. Many of you may have one of those mirrors hanging in your home. This, however, is a special mirror that is interactive. It becomes a mirror that you can look at and it will show you other people working out and encourage you to work out as well. Although I do not want one, it is really quite ingenious.
Today we are talking about training ourselves in godliness. There are several questions that I have as I began to consider this ‘We Are Statement’.
Do I need to train in godliness?
How do I train in godliness?
Who trains me in godliness?
Are there wrong ways to train in godliness?
How much progress should I expect?
How does godliness benefit me and those around me?
On page 49 of our Plethos book we see this ‘We Are Statement’. The key verse that is used here is found in 1 Timothy 4:7-8, “Have nothing to do with irreverent, silly, myths. Rather train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also the life to come.”
On the left side of the page we see how Plethos defines godliness. They say, “Godliness is being like Christ and doing Christ’s work. Every disciple has the capacity to learn the word of God and live the word of God. Our role is to help followers of Jesus discover their capacity to train in godliness.”
This statement helps to answer some of the questions that we had asked. Every disciple has the ability to learn the Word of God and to live the Word of God out in day to day life. And our role is also to help other followers of Jesus to train in godliness. If we were looking into ‘The Mirror’ right now our primary attention in this training would be upon Christ. He is our focus and He is the one that we are following. But we would also see other Christians on the mirror who are encouraging us in this work out. We train with them, receive instruction from them and we encourage each other.
What I would like to do tonight is to spend some time looking at the broader context of 1 Timothy 4:7-8. It truly is an exciting passage.
First, notice that the environment that we live in is a difficult one. There are many challenges to overcome in our walk towards godliness. There are many programs that make promises that they cannot deliver on. Look at 1 Timothy 4:1, “Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons.” Our Lord is speaking to each of us and warning us about some things that will totally distract us from the proper path to godliness. The Spirit clearly points these things out saying, “some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons.”
Those who were one passionate, zealous and focused upon the path toward godliness have departed. Ironically, this does not necessarily mean that they are no longer in the church. They are very zealous and very devoted people. They have departed from the faith but they are now devoting themselves to all the wrong teachings of demons and philosophies of men.
Imagine what the Spirit is saying in this verse. The Spirit warns that there are some who have departed from ‘the faith’, the instructions and teachings of Scripture, and the good doctrines that God has revealed and they are now devoted to the teachings of demons and evil spirits. Recently, someone asked me if it was OK for a Christian to play ‘Dungeons and Dragons’. In our conversation I stressed that they really needed to be in the Word and praying that the Spirit would lead them or keep them from anything harmful. These harmful teachings and philosophies can be found everywhere – even in the church!
1 Timothy 4:2-5 tells us who delivers the messages of demons and evil spirits. These teachings come through men who are insincere and liars. Their consciences are seared and they forbid many things that the Lord has created to be received with thanksgiving. These things are made holy by the Word of God and through prayer. In 1 Timothy 4:1-5 the Spirit has given us a strong warning. We do not live in a world that is conducive to godliness. In fact, many will depart from the faith and devote themselves to many other things.
But there is a solution. There is still a way for a believer to be training in godliness. There is still a way for great progress to be made. And there is a way even for those who have departed to be brought back to ‘the faith’ and to ‘good doctrine’.